You Betta Werk: Shred415 vs. BRICK

Last week while traveling, I tried two different circuit/strength based workouts. I’ve never really gravitated toward these types of workouts before (see: lazy AF) but to keep the momentum going post, 30-lb milestone, I wanted to do something different and challenging.

The first workout took place in Chicago, in a cute studio in the Old City part of town. I just kind of picked it quickly on my app, and then showed up for class. I really wasn’t sure of what Shred415 stood for until I got there, which was probably a good thing, as I would’ve been tempted to back out, had I known.

Essentially, Shred415 is the Midwest’s answer to Barry’s Bootcamp.

You run for 15 minutes on Woodway treadmills (note: I know nothing about treadmills, but apparently they are the Birkin of treadz), then do 15 minutes of weights and other strength/plyometrics things on the floor (burpees, planks, bicep curls, mountain climbers, jumps, etc.), then do 15 minutes of running again, followed by 15 more strength and plyometrics things. For my class, we mixed it up a little and ended up doing six 10-minute segments instead. You get a minute break for water a few times sporadically, but there really isn’t a recovery period until class is over.


[Shred vibezzzz. Photo credit: Shred415]

I am NOT a runner at all… I was typically happy when I managed to keep my mile at sub-11 minutes in gym class. So for me to be doing sprints and hill running for a total of 30 minutes was definitely a challenge. But, I did it.

This is probably due to the fact that the instructor was one of the hottest people I’ve seen in real life (and I work in TV!) as well as super encouraging/friendly, but not easy. If I lived in Chicago, I would probably be training for a half-marathon right now, just to have an excuse to go to his class.

When I wasn’t running my sizeable culo off to impress my instructor, I was doing all types of difficult plyometrics and weights exercises on the floor. It was hard to say which station was harder… Probably the running, but both sucked. Some of exercises were more advanced and he would provide modifications, which were really helpful (i.e. instead of jumping 3 feet onto and off the weight bench quickly while simultaneously doing some sort of hand weight thing, he suggested stepping on and off, which seemed far safer for my clumsy ass).

It was really an amazing class, and I felt challenged and capable and completely strong (yet exhausted) afterward. This will be a must-visit every time I am in the Chi.


[Apparently orange is the new pink, at least for boutique gyms. Photo credit: BRICK]

Less of a must-visit, but still a good workout, was BRICK New York. BRICK is a Crossfit gym, but I took their B l X class, which was slightly different than true Crossfit, but with many of the same exercises. Their website describes it as, “a program that included CrossFit’s strength-building movements, omitting the complex gymnastics and Olympic weight-lifting exercises” while also seeking to, “incorporate dynamic explosive movements as well as endurance training”.

The BRICK facility is gorgeous. It is huge, especially for NYC, and had a non-cramped locker/changing/bathroom area. It also has a smoothie/coffee bar, but no one was manning it while I was there.


[I LOLed when I saw the changing room… Marilyn Monroe was haunting me from coast to coast. First, via #teamnosleep, and next, through tricep extensions]

The B l X class was a room full of mostly ripped bros (though none remotely as fine as my Shred415 instructor, haaaay) and a handful of girls, all casually dying at various circuit stations together. We did a 10 minute or so warm up alternating between the bikes, treadmills and rowing machines, then started the formal stations.

The first station my group reported to was on the (very uncomfortable and not padded) floor. It was 10 weird pushups I can’t even describe followed by 20 elbow to hand pushups and then 20 mountain climbers, I think. We had to repeat that sequence twice in five minutes.

Next, we had to run for .15 of a mile (weirdly, I was the second fastest runner in my smaller group?!? Thx Shred415!) and then do 20 lunges with a kettlebell and then 20 kettlebell swings and then repeat the whole thing again twice in 5 minutes. They had really weird treadmills; there was no dial/dashboard to control the speed or resistance… Instead, you ran as fast as you wanted and it magically synced to your pace, but sometimes it would go too fast, which was obviously distracting.

The next station was sort of the easiest, with having to hit 20 on the rower, then do 20 lunges with a medicine ball above your head, and repeat the sequence twice. My legs were already kind of shot between back to back Shred415 and Flywheel classes, so the rowing part was easy but the lunges were not.

I wasn’t a huge fan of my instructor. She seemed nice enough, but instead of offering me a modification and/or ~inspiring~ criticism when I was struggling with an exercise, she would just yell “YEAH GIRLLLLL” and then walk away.

The next station was 3 different arm weight exercises, like different types of curls/presses and squats, which had to be repeated twice too.

The last one, I think, was 10 burpees followed by some other arm exercise, twice. Apparently, I was blocking it out/maybe blacking out, at this point.

Then, we did a speed round, where we went through the circuit again, but some of the exercises were slightly modified, so we could do them ideally twice at each station in 2 minutes.

In conclusion, I didn’t find my instructor to be that inspiring, and with a super hard workout like this one, I want to be coached by someone who I trust and bond with, because then I feel comfortable and want to really push myself to the max.

That said, I would be open to doing another class here with a different instructor. I really liked two of the instructors I met while waiting for class; they let me play with their two (!) dogs who they bring to work with them, and seemed like they had great personalities.




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